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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The 4 Key Technical Reasons Why Episerver (Optimizely) is an Obvious DXP Leader

By Jim Noellsch — Senior Director and CMS and Web Platforms Lead

The new Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms was published earlier in 2021. As expected, it included the usual position adjustments in the leader quadrant, with Episerver (now Optimizely) continuing its ascension further into the upper right corner. While this is a cause for celebration and very exciting news for Optimizely, if you have been following closely, this should come as no surprise. 

Thought: The 4 Key Technical Reasons Why Episerver (Optimizely) is an Obvious DXP Leader
The 4 Key Technical Reasons Why Episerver (Optimizely) is an Obvious DXP LeaderSenior Director and CMS and Web Platforms Lead — Jim Noellsch
Thought: The 4 Key Technical Reasons Why Episerver (Optimizely) is an Obvious DXP Leader

This news solidifies something that Rightpoint has known about our partner since our relationship began in 2015: Optimizely offers a compelling DXP solution and follows a strong strategic direction—as evidenced by transparency in its roadmap and major acquisitions like Optimizely, Idio, Insite and, most recently, Zaius, a leading customer data platform. Optimizely has demonstrated commitment to its vision to leading as a Digital Experience platform provider, and we believe that it’s now positioned to achieve the brand recognition that matches the holistic offering. 

As Optimizely expands with its re-brand, Rightpoint is excited to continue its partnership to bring outstanding digital experiences to our clients.

Here are four elements we love about this solution and the value they offer to your IT and marketing teams

1. Barrier-free optimization & personalization

Episerver’s legacy personalization and testing approach is a compelling, native solution that utilizes visitor groups in defining specific attributes to segment users. These attributes can also be augmented with data from other connected systems, like marketing automation platforms. While it’s a strong option to start on the path of experimentation, it’s the limitations to this approach that often require a lot of coordination with development teams in modifying the underlying components and data models—ultimately supporting the distinct personalization requirements from marketers. 

With the addition of Optimizely as a native offering, optimization experiments can be started by including a simple JavaScript snippet. Background colors, positioning, alignment, visibility and content are easily configured through the browser, directly by marketers, within the Optimizely visual editor. On the content analytics and recommendations side via Idio, it’s also integrated similarly and easily with a JavaScript snippet, requiring very little development lift. Here, you begin to automatically harness the power of 1:1 personalization with AI/ML-powered recommendations by first tracking user’s interaction with the website, then activating with minimal configuration, classification and HTML widget definition. 

By supporting this outside of the underlying CMS content repository, we have drastically reduced the friction of supporting personalization and testing strategies within our Rightpoint delivery teams and our client teams.

2. Full-coverage commerce

Episerver’s legacy commerce solution has always offered a compelling value proposition, providing a fully integrated content + commerce approach; but historically, this was geared for B2C use cases. With the addition of Insite Commerce, the overall commerce solution has been rounded out by offering support for of the more complex, yet typical, B2B-specific use cases and integrations. 

This, in conjunction with additional focused effort on PIM, SPA/PWA support, JavaScript framework starter kits, AI/ML-enabled production recommendations, and underlying headless REST API architectures, highlights a commitment to the rapidly evolving commerce landscape and allows Rightpoint to deliver robust commerce experiences for our clients all from within a core digital experience platform.

This expansion ultimately drives simplicity in platform implementation, integration and ongoing management and optimization. 

3. Robust managed cloud hosting infrastructure

The combined Optimizely/Episerver current Digital Experience Cloud (DXC) is backed by Microsoft Azure and includes a straightforward infrastructure footprint of web apps, databases, blog storage and content delivery networks (CDN). This provides a very known, reliable uptime quality with the flexibility to scale up or out depending on the traffic needs. 

The CDN is provided through CloudFlare, which is an industry leader in this segment and continues to serve as a go-to for our infrastructure recommendations in smart caching and DDoS protection in non-DXC solutions. Additionally, CloudFlare provides additional functionality for free, particularly the image optimization service. For clients who don’t have a digital asset management (DAM) solution, the CloudFlare Polish feature can reduce the overall page payload by dynamically resizing and optimizing images into more efficient formats (i.e., WebP).

Optimizing site performance is a key goal of Rightpoint’s SEO and technical teams—now more important than ever for ranking via Google Web Vitals. Delivering on this need is simplified through the architecture and scale of the DXC platform. 

4. Simplified DevOps workflows

Optimizely’s self-service capabilities for DXC, paired with multiple environment groups, allow you to speed up release cycles with several options depending on your comfort level or governance needs. If you prefer a more UI-focused approach, their management portal allows you to perform many standard code and data promotion tasks through simple button clicks. This includes easily executing backstream database restores to ensure non-production environments mirror production.

If you prefer a pure hand-free-focused approach, the DXC automation API can be utilized to perform a lot of same activities with simple scripts or via your Azure DevOps or Octopus Deploy pipelines. Utilizing the automation API directly within your release workflows helps align any governance or approval sequence requirements. 

And if neither of these options work for your DevOps procedures, there is always the white glove support available from the DXP Managed Services and CSM team. Together, all these approaches help Rightpoint launch new experiences more rapidly and provide greater confidence to our clients.

The Rightpoint Way

Rightpoint is very excited about Optimizely’s modern Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and commitment to being a leader in the space. Optimizely and Rightpoint share a culture of experimentation, and we are eager to partner with our clients to use the tools Optimizely offers in support of continuous learning, optimization and innovation. This DXP bridges the gap between technology and marketing by providing greater insights into user behavior, simpler personalization capabilities, and native 1:1 content recommendations. This fills a void in time and resource-constrained organizations who need to extract more value out of technology investments and power deeper connections with end-users. 

Whether you’re already a legacy Episerver client and looking to understand these new features, or you’re exploring a new DXP as part of your digital transformation, Rightpoint has the depth of expertise on this platform to partner with you on your journey. 

Download the Gartner report here.